How to Play Spider Solitaire

My name is Izzy and I am a Spider Solitaire addict. There- I've said it.

Ever since my brother sent me a disk - Windows 98 Plus Pack, that contained Spider Solitaire, I've loved the game. It's a very easy game to learn, but a difficult game to win.

Microsoft originally shipped games such as Spider Solitaire and Minesweeper to get us all used to using computers. This was at the start of the computer revolution, and most of us had heard of computers, but had never touched one.

Playing the packaged Microsoft games taught us how to use a mouse, how to use keyboard short-cuts, and how to drag items around. Quite clever really when you think about it. They know that games can be addictive, so we play them and play them until we succeed, by which time we are really quite proficient at using both mouse and keyboard.

I'd actually got my first computer shortly after Windows 95 was launched, and I admit I was terrified of it. I was so scared it was going to break if I pressed the wrong button, and of course with most of us being very new to computers it was easy to believe the vicious rumors that one wrong move would wipe your computer of all its data.

But I'd learned enough to upgrade my Windows when 98 came out, and to install the Plus Pack. It used to have its own little folder under start>programs, and through playing it I first learned how to make a desktop short-cut.

Ever since then, I've always had Spider Solitaire as a desktop short-cut, and play it whenever I have a spare hour or two to waste. (or even when I don't have a spare hour or two to waste!)

Spider was with me after I got connected to the web (before that Spider and I became best of firiends) and came with me each time I upgraded my Windows version. After the Plus Pack, Windows loaded their operating systems with Spider Solitaire integrated.

Soider Solitaire - Win Vista Icon
Soider Solitaire - Win Vista Icon

The first Spider Solitaire (the one that was the Windows 98 Plus Pack disk) had only one difficulty level, and that was the hard one with 4 suits.

You could 'undo last move' (keyboard short-cut ctrl+z) but only back to the last card deal. The game was much more difficult then, than it is now.

The next operating system I got was Windows XP. I can't say anything about ME because I didn't use it.

In Windows XP, Spider Solitaire had three difficulty levels.

They were:

  1. Beginner with 1 suit
  2. Intermediate with 2 suits
  3. Advanced with 4 suits.

Ha! So I'd been playing the advanced level all along and didn't know.

Also, if you can remember back to the first Spider Solitaire, computers were a lot slower then than they are now. So Spider played slower.

When you got a suit away, it used to flutter away! It was worth watching!

Now, when a suit is completed in a column, it just disappears in a flash! When the cards were dealt, they came out one at a time, now you hit a button and whole row is there in an instant.

Start to play Spider Solitaire - deal the cards
Start to play Spider Solitaire - deal the cards
Spider solitaire - the last line of cars turn face up
Spider solitaire - the last line of cars turn face up
Aim to clear a column - this lets you play around a bit more
Aim to clear a column - this lets you play around a bit more
spider solitaire - work to get the cards in order while keeping a column empty
spider solitaire - work to get the cards in order while keeping a column empty
spider solitaire - starting to look good
spider solitaire - starting to look good
Wheeeee- there goes a suit!
Wheeeee- there goes a suit!

How to Play Spider Solitaire

  • When playing Spider Solitaire, the aim is to line up your suits just like in any other games of Patience.
  • So, you will want, say, the King of Clubs to have the Queen of Clubs below it, the Jack of Clubs below the Queen and so on down to the Ace.
  • They won't stay there. The minute you complete a suit it disappears and appears in the bottom left of the screen in one pile, with the king at the top.
  • The cards you still have to deal are face down in the bottom right.
  • You get 6 deals per game over and above the first one where all your cards come out in rows with the final row being face up.
  • You can put any color or suit of card on top of another, so long as it is numerically one less. ie a 9 can go on a 10, a Jack on a Queen, and ace on a 1.
  • You are aiming to have all of the same suit in the one column in the right order.
  • When you have succeeded, all the cards disappear.

You can undo a move at any time by pressing the undo button on the top left hand of the screen, under Game.

It is much easier to use the keyboard short-cut Ctrl+Z. My Ctrl and my Z buttons are shiny with overuse.

You can undo right back to the start of the game if you choose now. This is new feature that came out with Windows Vista. Just press and hold down the ctrl+Z buttons and it will undo the lot if you want.

All the keyboard short-cuts are listed under Game in the top left hand of the screen.

M = move, as in what moves can I make?

H = hint, same as above

D = deal the next row of cards

Ctrl + Z = undo

F2 = start a new game but it brings up the "Do you want to start a new game?" box

The other shortcuts are for change appearance F7, statistics F4 and options F5.

Always work with at least one empty column if at all possible
Always work with at least one empty column if at all possible
The row of hearts to the right is complete, I just captured the screen shot a moment too soon
The row of hearts to the right is complete, I just captured the screen shot a moment too soon
caught this suit going
caught this suit going
Am I going to win??
Am I going to win??

Spider Solitaire Tips

If you want to succeed at Spider Solitaire, you want an empty column to work with. This can be done by piling the cards onto others, even if they are not of the same suit.

Each game, you should always aim towards getting an empty column at least once in each deal. Two or more empty columns are even better. This allows you to try moving different combinations of cards so you end up with the best possible position for your cards before you deal again.

You cannot deal while you still have an empty column.

It is not cheating to deal, then go back and change the positions of certain cards so that you get more advantage from your new deal.

It is not cheating to go back at all, and I really do not understand people that think it is. If it was cheating, Windows wouldn't have given us the function, would they?

The best time to get at least one empty column is on your final deal. I've played many games where I have not been able to do much at all with each deal, but got that precious empty column on my last deal, and have gone on to win.

The other important tip is not obsess over getting the cards out and away. Sometimes, completing a suit will stop your game in its tracks because you have no other move afterwards.

Say you have a 4 of clubs in one column, a 4 of hearts in another, and the 5 of hearts in yet another. Don't automatically assume you should put that 4 of hearts on to the 5 of hearts.

I usually check to make sure, especially at the start of the game, but sometimes the 4 of clubs may have a 5 of clubs right underneath it, and it is a move you would have missed if you automatically moved the 4 of hearts on to the 5 of hearts.

Check what is under all your possible moves. Undo if they are not of any use, and finally make the obvious move only if they isn't one better to make.

Woo-hoo! I won! Spider solitaire rocks!!
Woo-hoo! I won! Spider solitaire rocks!!

The other thing that has changed over the years with Spider Solitaire is the accolade when you win. Now (in Windows Vista) it is in the form of fireworks.

I must admit I see a lot of fireworks but then one good thing about wasting years playing Spider Solitaire is that you actually get quite good at it.

I don't play any other game so please don't send me questions about them because I really don't know. I'm not a gamer. I'm a Spider Solitairer.

Spider Solitaire Bug in WindowsVista

I forgot to mention above, but this video points it out. The Windows Vista version of Spider Solitaire has a bug. It false detects 'No More Moves' when in actual fact you do have moves left, and can in fact still win the game.

So if you are playing away quite happily, and the message pops up that you have no more moves and do you want to start another game, just X the box off and carry on with the game.

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Comments 18 comments

dashingclaire profile image

dashingclaire 6 years ago from United States

Love this game. Here's a fellow addict who appreciates this hub!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Cheers! You've wasted hours and hours too when you could have been doing something useful, just playing and playing... sad aren't we? lol

viking305 profile image

viking305 6 years ago from Ireland

Oh IzzyM I was delighted to read this hub on Spider Solitaire. And yes I am a fellow addict too. The firworks display at the end when you win is really brilliant, I love seeing them lol

Great hub thanks

Wendy Krick profile image

Wendy Krick 6 years ago from Maryland

I've never played. I'm glad you enjoy it so much.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

@Viking - do you remember what Win XP showed when you won? It wasn't fireworks because that was new in Vista - but I'm having problems remembering..

@Wendy - its better you start playing, that way you can neer get addicted!

gramarye profile image

gramarye 6 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

Izzy, so glad you came out of the closet! I also am pretty much addicted to spider solitaire... I once played it so much the game became corrupted and I couldn't use it any longer. When my computer crashed and all the software was re-loaded, it worked again. Now I don't over-do it! Great Hub!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Your game became corrupted? Oh I would die if that happened to me! I don't think overplaying it would have done that all the same, otherwise I'd have gone through several computers by now...oh wait...I have! lol

Danny Lee Graham profile image

Danny Lee Graham 6 years ago from Zephyr ,Texas , near Brownwood ,Texas

Dear lady IzzyM ;

- Danny here ;

I also love spider , and We are not so sad , this is a good game brain excersize , like suduko and such , being simple minded I almost always play single suite it doesn't mater if i win or lose it is relaxation and fun ,good with my first cup of coffee before I get on to the e-mail , and just to be bragging a little , I have won twenty five games in a row , it is not that I am very good , it is just that the game is so very simple in single suite.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Oh well done on the 25 games in a row! Your coffee must have been cold by the time you finished though!

kaltopsyd profile image

kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

I've 'mastered' regular solitare but I've never gotten the hang of spider solitare so this Hub will certainly help me out. I'm a visual learner so thank you for the images! Awesome Hub.

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Thanks. Start on the easy ones first and work your way up! Then you can join the club (spider solitaire addicts!)

LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba

I have never touched this game and never will, you can't make me, no you can't...

Ok.. so I may have played a little..

Just a little...

But I'm not an addict, I can stop any time I like...

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Heard it all before! Just come along, son!

lisabeaman profile image

lisabeaman 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

Izzy - I'm an addict too! I love Spider solitaire! I even have my 10 year old playing it. I didn't know about the Vista bug though - so I've always given up when I get the message about no more available moves... Hmmm, something new to try!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

Sometimes there really is no available moves. Other times, yes there is, so ignore the warning sign and double-check yourself :)

Glad to meet a fellow addict!

James 6 years ago

For old times sake, the new solitaire games should not be sold by Microsoft! They have been free of charge since they first came out!

IzzyM profile image

IzzyM 6 years ago from UK Author

I didn't know they were charging for them - mine came with my newest Windows 7 laptop as it always has done!

moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

We are addicted to this game. Mine also came with Windows 7.

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